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Chamber members get ASCC peek

DEMOPOLIS – Chamber of Commerce members here will have an opportunity to discover about ‘learning better and succeeding faster’ Thursday.

The Chamber will present its “Chamber After Hours,” hosted by Robertson Banking Company in its downtown Community Room, so that members can meet Dr. Arthur Ogden, Alabama Southern Community College’s newly appointed campus coordinator.

“This is event is so Chamber members and our local industries can meet Dr. Ogden and his family and learn more about what Alabama Southern can offer our community,” said Chamber President Jay Shows. “Alabama Southern will be a valuable asset for years to come.”

Alabama Southern will open its new campus in Demopolis’ Sportsplex Oct. 11, although classes will actually begin on Aug. 20 at Demopolis High School, Ogden said.

“We’re proud of the facility that’s going up,” he said, “and we’re excited to be here in Demopolis.”

The 15,000 square-foot building includes two computer labs, a science lab, six multi-media classrooms, a combined library and student center, a community-styled conference room and a distance learning teleconference center.

Walking through the building – carpenters having this week completed the installation of wood panels in entryways and in the campus’ community conference room – Ogden’s excitement was evident.

“This is going to be a first-class facility for the community,” he said.

And Ogden knows first class when he sees it.

Fresh from the U.S. Sports Academy in Mobile, where he has been dean of academic affairs since 2000, Ogden’s well-rounded in academics, athletics and administration. A Miami, Fla., native, he’s served as president of the University of the Americas and dean of communications at the institution. He’s twice served with the venerable coach Terry Bowden, first at Salem College in Salem, W. Vir., and again, between 1995 and 2000, as Auburn’s assistant athletic director for student services.

Although he’ll assume the top administrative post on the Demopolis campus, Ogden said he’d spend some time in the classroom as well. With a doctorate in philosophy and philosophy of education, and a English degree to boot, he may be well accustomed to the classroom environment.

“I’ll be teaching the philosophy courses myself,” he said, noting the his first job was as chairman and athletic director at a small high school.

“When this came up, I said ‘it looks like a good opportunity’ and started looking into it,” he said.

Of course, Ogden admits Demopolis sold him on the job as much as anyone at Alabama Southern.

“My wife and I visited over Memorial Day weekend and fell in love with the place,” he said. “Smaller cities are place of traditional direction and have a strong sense of self.”

“People are close and I look forward to getting to know our strengths,” he said. “And we hope to help with viable business and commerce needs in the community.”

Alabama Southern will partner with the University of West Alabama and the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa in offering academic programs and other supporting activities.

“For all intents and purposes, Demopolis will have its own college,” he said.